TDH Initiative Reduces Use Of Antipsychotic Drugs For Nursing Home Residents

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tennessee nursing homes have exceeded the national goal of reducing antipsychotic drug use for residents living with dementia in nursing homes. As a result, Tennessee has moved from leading the nation in such use in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 48th for the first quarter of 2013.

 

“We can all be pleased with Tennessee’s clear evidence of improvement in the wise use of these powerful medications by our committed nursing homes and caregivers,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.

“While there is much work left to do, it is appropriate to celebrate the initial success of this initiative and thank the dedicated stakeholders who are collaborating with each other and our department toward healthier aging in Tennessee.”

 

The TDH Office of Health Care Facilities worked in partnership with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Tennessee Advancing Excellence Coalition and The Eden Alternative to conduct training sessions for nursing home staff members across the state as part of a nationwide initiative to improve dementia care in nursing homes. The national goal was to reduce the rate of antipsychotic drug use by 15 percent by the end of 2012, and further reduce rates in 2013. When the initiative was unveiled in December 2012, Tennessee had the highest usage of antipsychotic medications in the Southeast Region at 30.1 percent for long-stay residents, with the national average being only 23.8 percent. CMS has released the national reduction rates through the first quarter of 2013, and Tennessee nursing homes have exceeded the initial goal, having reduced overall antipsychotic medication use by 16.46 percent.  

 

“This significant decline in antipsychotic medication use in Tennessee is a testament to the collaborative efforts of many stakeholders who continue to work on this critical quality of life and quality of care initiative,” said TDH Health Care Facilities Director Vincent Davis. “These trainings offered a great opportunity for facility staff and state surveyors to reframe their perceptions of those living with dementia and improve care provided to these individuals.” 

    

The trainings focused on how to effectively reduce antipsychotic drug therapy, address the root cause of behaviors and improve quality of life for residents living with dementia. Staff members from 169 nursing homes took part in the training, along with surveyors from the TDH Office of Health Care Facilities and local State Long Term Care Ombudsman staff members. 

 

Antipsychotic drugs cost hundreds of millions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars and increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, falls with fractures, hospitalizations and other complications resulting in poor health and high care costs. By lowering the use of unnecessary antipsychotic medications, residents’ quality of life has been improved while the cost of health care for these residents is reduced.

 

Closer reviews of individual facility antipsychotic medication use on residents living with dementia are now underway. As a result, homes failing to adequately assess each resident for actual medication need will now have a greater likelihood of being cited for such by surveyors.


Widespread Flue Impacting Local Blood Supply

Non-profit regional blood center Blood Assurance is calling on healthy community members to make a blood donation at a local donor center or bloodmobile as soon as possible to help replenish the blood supply needed by area hospitals. The local blood supply is critically low due to high hospital usage and widespread flu affecting donors across the region. “To have a four to five ... (click for more)

Ronald McDonald House Launches Share-A-Night Campaign

RMHC of Greater Chattanooga launched their Share-A-Night campaign with one main premise: to walk in the shoes of a family with a sick child. The year-long campaign aims to encourage individuals to donate in increments of $66, which is what it costs the charity to host one family for one night; they host 26 families every day, costing $1,716 per night for housing alone.  ... (click for more)

St. Elmo Woman, 45, Dies At County Workhouse On Wednesday Night; Investigation Underway

An inmate died at the county workhouse at Silverdale on Wednesday night, and an investigation is underway.   She was identified as  Dana Shunice Palmer, 45, of St. Elmo.   Ms. Palmer was booked into the Hamilton County Jail from the Chattanooga Police Department on Feb. 14 on a public Intoxication charge. She was transferred from the jail to CoreCivic ... (click for more)

Shannon Whitfield Raising Rates At Money-Losing Walker County Landfill; Moratorium Placed On Fracking, Deep Well Drilling, Tiny Homes

New Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield is raising rates at the money-losing Walker County Landfill. The higher charges go into effect on March 1. Mr. Whitfield, during his campaign, said the landfill had been losing about $500,000 per year for many years. He said other area landfills were making a profit, but Walker County was having to subsidize its landfill. ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right ... (click for more)